Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

31 responses to “Real Actual Listing Photo Statistics”

  1. Kary L. Krismer

    Those listings with better photos probably do other things better too, so the photos are an indicator, not a cause (which you mention).

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  2. David S

    You’re such an amazing statistician.

    With a minor background in photography I will tell you, most dramatic lighting occurs when there are high angles of incidence on the subject. Many striking contrasts and reveals can be captured. At our latitude 9:00am works well most of the year. Desert southwest a little earlier. Even the Grand Canyon doesn’t look that remarkable at high noon.

    As for the equipment, that’s pretty obvious. Higher end equipment tends to rest in the hands of the higher skilled photographers. I’m not surprised to see Canon at the top.

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  3. masaba

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    I wouldn’t rule the attractiveness of the listing photos out as a part of the cause. I would certainly assume that good listing photos at least get people to look at your home, click on your home’s listing when they get an e-mail from Redfin telling them that there are 30 new homes this week that match their price criteria, etc. All things which may cause your house to sell faster.

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  4. The Other Ben

    By David S @ 2:

    You’re such an amazing statistician.

    One thing that’s important to remember is that the prices are just correlated – it doesn’t imply causality. I could very easily imagine that the actual causal link would be
    lazy realtor -> crappy listing photos + not trying to make the house look nicer -> lower selling price
    or
    crappy property -> high quality photos will only show more of the mold and water damage -> no high quality photos + lower selling price (because the property is crappy)

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  5. ARDELL

    The sad flipside is that buyers may overpay for a house if it has great photos. One would think after all of the cautions against paying too much for a house, that would not be the case.

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  6. David S

    By ARDELL @ 5:

    The sad flipside is that buyers may overpay for a house if it has great photos. One would think after all of the cautions against paying too much for a house, that would not be the case.

    What is sad is those people would be called prey, or clients.

    This doesn’t apply to the agents who are worth their weight in gold though :) who would still advise appropriately.

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  7. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: masaba @ 3 – I would agree. I should have indicated better that the photos were just one of the things done. Clearly with certain listings they are important.

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  8. Kary L. Krismer

    By ARDELL @ 5:

    The sad flipside is that buyers may overpay for a house if it has great photos.

    Maybe if they buy the property without ever seeing it. Or maybe if they use an escalation clause and the photos attract another party too. Otherwise I just don’t see how the photos are going to cause someone to overpay.

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  9. deejayoh

    I am crying from laughing so hard reading that Lovely Listing site. Hadn’t seen that one before. Thanks for the link

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  10. BelRenter

    Correlation does not equal causation.

    It could simply be that high-end homes are much more likely to sell near their listing price.

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  11. ray pepper

    “The Bottom Line: If your listing agent dropped by your house after you got home from work, pulled out a point-n-shoot camera, and shot your home’s listing photos himself… Fire him and go find someone who is actually going to market your house.”

    Or save yourself 1-3%, turn on the lights, should some good pictures and don’t be brain-dead and pay more then 500.00 to LIST….Drop your price and pass the savings onto your buyers….THEY NEED IT!

    How about a correlation between listing your home at 309k or 299k and seeing which one will receive more hits and viewings from prospective Buyers and still yield the same return to the seller??………………..Wow what a concept…

    Good God!

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  12. Tim Mcb

    I wonder how many real estate offices have a photographer in residence or at least on contract. It seems like it would be worth having. Since Redfin does all pro shots I’m guessing that there’s at least one person whose job it is. I’ve always thought good pictures are more valuable than staging. It sometimes seems though that staging gets more emphasis though.

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  13. David Losh

    I’ll just point out that redfin is a photo only Real Estate company. You look at pretty pistures to make your choices. It seems that the statistics indicate redfin would be your Real Estate company of choice.

    Oh, and I forgot the over head view, and sales data.

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  14. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Tim Mcb @ 13 – With the possible exception of Redfin, I would think the photographer would be the personal choice of the agent.

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  15. kurto

    Another reason I love this site:
    To get my stat freak on. Great graph of listings by camera. :-)

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  16. David S

    RE: kurto @ 16 – Ditto that.

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  17. chuck c

    I want to see some data on Ray’s idea! Listing at 299k vs. 301k (or similar). Which will get more interest? Which will ultimately sell for closer to list? Fun stuff….

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  18. TheHulk

    Very very interesting data indeed. Great job Tim coming up with this data.

    I also think it would be far more instructive if we could figure out whether the photos had been “touched up” – that would, more likely imply the presence of a professional photographer and not just a home owner who also happened to have a DSLR (also not suprising that people in 500K plus houses have DSLRs). I wouldnt be that surprised if people selling 500K+ houses are hiring real estate photographers. I wonder how much the photographers charge for such shoots though, especially compared to the cost of staging a house.

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  19. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: TheHulk @ 19 – Photography is relatively cheap–typically under $300, unless there’s something special, like an aerial shot. That’s why agents typically pay for it.

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  20. WestSideBilly

    Good article, but I would disagree about one thing – that the cost of a DSLR camera indicates that the users are more than just hobbyists. Canon’s base packages start around $550. A decent body, wide angle lens, and a couple books to learn how to shoot decent photos can be easily had under $1000. For a profession (supposedly) based around presenting homes to potential clients in the best possible light, that should be not be too much to expect.

    If I was selling a home and the listing agent pulled out his crackberry or a cheap point-and-shoot to take listing photos, I’d tell him/her not to bother, and find a new agent.

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  21. softwarengineer

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 21

    I Thought the Camera Feature in Cell Phones Replaced Other Cameras?

    I guess not, I hear professionals like to use 35MM too, they can touch up the negatives for even better results.

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  22. Kary L. Krismer

    By softwarengineer @ 22:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 21 -I guess not, I hear professionals like to use 35MM too, they can touch up the negatives for even better results.

    Please use emoticons so that we know whether you’re trying to be funny. ;-)

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  23. Greenhood

    RE: David Losh @ 14

    Not sure what you mean by “photo only Real Estate company”, as Redfin employees have personally shown me literally dozens of homes. As someone who does their own research and knows what I am looking for, I appreciate detailed photos and online listings to help narrow down options, without relying on a realtor to make those choices for me. Sites like Redfin help buyers avoid wasting time on physical home tours that are not what they are looking for.

    That said, I think it is disingenuous to claim that Redfin users are idiot simpletons who make home purchases based on photographs posted to the internet. If anything, I’d be willing to guess that buyers who use online realtor services are more personally knowledgable and involved in the process than the average buyer.

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  24. WestSideBilly

    There are advantages to using film, particularly large format film (not 35mm). For the purpose of capturing good images of a home for use in the internet, they’re probably not worth it, and if your choice is 35mm vs digital then digital usually produces better results.

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  25. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 24 – A lot of people wonder how they can make old movies into HD or Blu-Ray, not realizing that film has a lot of effective resolution compared to SDTV or DVD.

    But the pictures you see for listings are pretty low resolution–although they’re typically taken at a much higher resolution. The NWMLS limits the resolution, and downconverts it themselves if it’s uploaded in too high of a resolution.

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  26. Feedback

    I’m surprised by the low usage of camera phones. The newest smartphones have good-quality cameras and it’s not like megapixel counts matter when your photos get downsized to VGA resolution for on-line display.

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  27. George Lake

    Isn’t the number of photos taken from 12-6am an indication of the unreliability of the data?

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  28. Sell Your Home with a Picture Worth 1000 Words | Sensible Giving

    [...] Real Actual Listing Photo Statistics (seattlebubble.com) [...]

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  29. Dan Achatz

    This is all very interesting, but the camera really doesn’t matter.

    Some more important statistics would be how many more showings a home gets if it’s shot by a professional real estate photographer. Or how much faster a home sells if it’s shot by a professional real estate photographer. Or how many homes shot by a professional real estate photographer get multiple offers. Or here’s one the percentage of the sale price it takes to get professional photos done.

    You can have the greatest camera in the world, and your not going to be able to shoot a home as well as someone who does it for a living,

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  30. Real Actual GOOD Listing Photos • Seattle Bubble

    [...] Listing PhotosBy The Tim on February 17, 2011 | Leave a responseI’ve posted in the past about the importance of having good listing photos, and our monthly “Real Actual Listing Photos” series regularly pokes fun of listing [...]

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